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INTRA- AND INTERRATER RELIABILITY OF MORPHOLOGICALLY EVALUATED LYMPHOCYTE APOPTOSIS IN TRAINED AND UNTRAINED OBSERVERS

Keywords: Stability reliability , programmed cell death , white blood cells , methodological evaluation

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Abstract:

Exercise-induced lymphocyte apoptosis has been reported using biochemical analysis and morphological assessment. Morphological evaluation is limited by the subjective nature of the technique. This investigation evaluated the intra- and interrater reliability of trained and untrained observers assessing apoptosis morphologically. Blood smears at baseline (PRE) and following cycle ergometer exercise (POST) were assessed microscopically for each condition. To obtain reliability measures, cell sets were evaluated for morphological characteristics of apoptosis on two separate occasions by trained and untrained observers using the intraclass correlation coefficient. Test-retest reliability for trained observers was higher for both conditions than untrained observers. Interrater reliability was below-average or below acceptable regardless of training status. Exercise may induce apoptotic changes in lymphocytes that are more easily discriminated by trained observers. Investigations assessing exercise-induced apoptosis should train observers in order to produce reliable results, and a single trained observer would be expected to yield the most reliable results.

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